About Sugar Gliders
Lifespan – 12-15 Years in captivity
Sugar Gliders must at least live in pairs, they can self-harm if left alone.
Sugar Gliders are nocturnal, meaning they are mostly up during the night.
Ideal temperatures are 70-75*F
To be ready for a Sugar Glider you will need
- Large metal enclosure with bar spacing no larger than .5” to ensure your glider can not escape. We like Critter Nation cages because they are easily modified for more enrichment.
- Large Mesh Wheel (12+ inches) with no Bar going across the middle
- Sugar Glider staple diet, we recommend the BML Diet or Critter Love.
- Filtered Bottled Water – they are sensitive to changes in our water
- Food Dish that is easily washed
- 2 Glass Water bottles or Bird Water Silos
- Sleeping Pouches and Hammocks or Cage Sets – there are Etsy stores with a lot of safe options, including ours!
- Hides & Toys – We love making our own toys
- Bedding – puppy pee pads work great
- Travel Carrier/Cage
- Zippered Bonding Pouch
- Small shop vac for cleaning up after your Sugar Gliders -optional but useful
*Please understand that some items will need to be replenished monthly.
Here at the rescue for Sugar Gliders, we use Critter Nation Cages because they are easy to modify on the inside quickly depending on the animal we are intaking. The Critter Nations also have large front opening doors which makes cleaning much easier. With Sugar Gliders, the taller the better to give them room to jump and glide. Some people make their own cages out of PVC Pipe and tanex hardware mesh with a ton of cable ties.
Sugar Glider Care
Feeding – Feeding your sugar glider a highly tested staple diet is important. Sugar gliders can eat a range of food but ensuring they receive a balanced diet is important for their health. If you notice yellow staining on them you may want to consider changing their diet, assuming their cage and pouches are cleaned appropriately. We highly recommend the BML Diet, but there are also Happy Glider pellets, Critter Love Complete (gravy) and Tropical Kibble (pellets), and the Australian Wombaroo Diet. Our sugar gliders are fed once a night with Critter Love Complete Gravy and Tropical Kibble. Researching each diet may help you decide which is best for you and your gliders.
Bottled Water – Sugar Gliders are extremely sensitive to small changes in minerals, and chlorine in our water. It is best practice to only give them filtered bottled water.
Toys – Sugar gliders are mostly nocturnal creatures and need a ton of stimulation to keep them happy. In addition to a wheel, they love toys including pulley toys, reset toys, toys with treat cups, etc. Many make their own toys from items from the dollar store. Some of the plastic toys will be chewed up over time and need to be replaced. There are many youtube videos on how to make your own. We can recommend vendors to get toy parts from.
Bedding – In our Sugar Glider cages, the middle level is removed to give them more room to glide. In turn, we zip-tie the middle section under the cage and put the plastic pan over that with a puppy pad in it. This creates more of a “drop pan” that the Critter Nation doesn’t typically have. We can share pictures if needed.
Cleaning the Enclosure
You should spot-clean the cage every 1-2 days as Sugar Gliders can be super messy with their food. Dump the drop pan at least 2 times a week, and replace it with a fresh pad. Change out fleece pouches and wash toys as needed. We do not recommend using vinegar to clean metal cages. We recommend using dish soap and water with a good non-scratch sponge, or a new toilet scrub brush. Dry pans well before sliding them back into place.
Sugar Gliders greatly benefit from having an established relationship with a veterinarian. We recommend at minimum annual fecal exams to ensure they are parasite free.
There are some serious signs you may want to watch out for in your sugar glider that you would want to seek a Veterinarian promptly:
- Change in poop (large change in consistency, having a foul smell, or if it contains blood/mucus)
- Change in behavior
- Trouble breathing (noisy breathing, discharge around nose/mouth)
- Lethargy/Cold (place in a pouch near your body immediately)
Sugar Gliders can live for 12-15 years. Please be sure your chosen Veterinarian specializes in the needs of sugar gliders.
Your gliders will need a carrier for trips to the veterinarian and when they come home with you. We recommend something more than a zippered pouch, just in case you are in an accident (like a small bird cage, but be sure the doors are locked shut). If you are traveling further a larger carrier may be needed so that your gliders have access to food and water. If you have a bonded pair, it is best practice to take both together.
Socializing & Bonding
Socializing your gliders with yourself and taming them for handling should be gentle. You may try to encourage your sugar gliders to come closer with treats (dried or fresh fruit is a good option). You should never introduce your gliders to any other animal unless it is another glider (please ensure all males are neutered before you do any introductions). Sugar gliders absolutely need another sugar glider to be happy, we can not give the sugar glider what another glider can. Sugar gliders can start self-mutilating and become depressed if kept alone.
How to pick up your sugar glider
To pick up your sugar, it is recommended to put your hands underneath their body and scoop them up (imagine like an ice cream scoop) and carefully lift under them and cup them in your hands. I recommend talking to them softly the whole time. Please be cautious because sugar gliders can jump from your arms.
Holding your sugar glider
Holding your sugar glider may be tricky since most sugar gliders are not cuddly and do not want to be held. They tend to be more adventurous and on the move unless they are hiding in a pouch or maybe on your sleeve. Sugar gliders can and occasionally may bite. They are not ideal pets for children.
Out of Cage Time
We recommend approximately 30 minutes each day outside of the enclosure for your pet. Free roaming in a sugar glider safe area (watch for electrical cords and anything in your glider’s reach), such as a bathroom (ensure the tub is dry first, and the toilet lid is down) or inside of a mesh tent can be fun for you and your gliders.. Always ensure other pets are put away for your glider’s safety. If you can not provide a safe play area, it is best to not have any out-of-cage time.
We DO NOT recommend the following:
- Small Enclosures, Aquariums, or ones made mostly of Plastic or Wood
- Plastic (hamster type) exercise balls aka death balls.
- Inappropriately sized wheels (under 12”), or wheels with a center bar
- Poor Quality Food such as VitaKraft, Sunseed Vita Prima, etc.
- Cedar, Softwood, unknown woods.
- Cotton or fibrous bedding
- Snak Shaks or Logs
- Harnesses or Leashes can rip their patagium aka gliding membrane.